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More talking, less covering up

Posted on January 25, 2018 by Maple Creek

Christalee Froese

What I’ve learned over the years is this—it helps to talk.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know exactly what it does.
I don’t know why it works.
But, somehow, when you get things out, they unlock from inside. And most of the time, I’ve discovered, someone will undoubtedly say, ‘I thought I was the only one.’ They are not. I am not. You are not.
I wrote my book Journey to Joy (released April 28) for this exact purpose—to get it out and to have others know they are not alone. I’m sharing the Introduction of the book in honour of Bell’s Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 31:
This book is for us.
It is for those of us who have felt too stressed to be content, too sad to be happy and too broken to be fixed. This is for us—the overwrought, the overly hard on ourselves, the trying but not getting, the giving until our bones have become weak and brittle.
You may have visited counsellors, life coaches or therapists. You may have tried supplements, vitamins and antidepressants. Or, you may have gone it on your own, spilling your soul to confidants and devouring hope-offering books.
I am you and this is the story of my walk back.
It’s the story of placing one trembling foot in front of the other, putting my worries in their rightful place and removing the weight of the social pressure that bowed me to the ground.
After a nervous breakdown at age forty-three, I was left to reconstruct life as I had created it. As a working journalist, I chose a one-month joy project—a project that mercifully morphed into two life-altering years. I spent twenty-one days each month focusing on what I hoped would bring joy.
Scribbled expectantly on sticky notes, I immersed myself in one joy-giving topic after another, seeking desperately to infuse my life with the happiness I had lost. I began with the subject of ‘Joy’ itself, in all of its broadness and breadth. By month twenty-four—after immersion in subjects like Creativity, Food, Fitness, Photography, Nature, Reading, Gratitude, Brutal Honesty, Great Love and Writing—a whole new me emerged; one whose bones had calcified and one whose soul could stand still in the shelter of a newfound strength.
After decades of living, giving and letting myself down, I was finally able to hear my calling, and more importantly…to answer it without crippling fear. I found my courage at the same time that two beautiful souls in need of rescue in a Chinese orphanage found me.
As you journey alongside, I will tell you of my full-scale breakdown, and I will describe my worries, fears and lack of coping skills in relatable detail. However, this dip into the dark will be fleeting as my purpose is simply to have you witness these depths for the sake of recognizing the possible heights—both mine and yours.
I encourage you to grab a pack of sticky notes (right now if you need to) and choose your own topics of joy. I invite you to embrace your suppressed desires as we wind our way through this book, and life, together. May the very act of writing down things you love and have always wanted to do set something in you free, as it did for me.
I share this tale with you humbly, offering only what I have to give—honesty, hope and the profound knowing that we are together in this sometimes painful predicament that is being human. If you are not one of us—the worriers and the ‘think-too-muchers’—this book will help you come to know us better.
Together, we will understand anxiety and depression—and joy and hope—better.
This book is for us.
It is for those of us who know there is a better way to live, but we just can’t seem to find it.
To order Froese’s upcoming book Journey to Joy (released April 28, 2018), visit bookjourneytojoy.com or email Lcfroese@sasktel.net.

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